Attendees at January's Southwestern Rail Conference in Dallas will get the latest update from TxDOT's Rail Division Director Bill Glavin on ongoing plans for a statewide network of passenger rail services and finding ways to ease freight rail commerce through choke points that constrain shippers getting their goods to market faster. Conference information is posted at www.texasrailadvocates.org/conference. Already underway are preliminary engineering and environmental studies on high-speed rail corridors between DFW and Houston, a passenger rail study from Oklahoma City to South Texas and another from the DFW area to Shreveport. Texas Transportation Commissioner Jeff Austin will address attendees at the Friday noon luncheon.

Just announced: D.J. Stadtler, Vice President - Operations at Amtrak will be one of the featured presenters.

A hot topic is a unique partnership plan that could foster the first regional rail line in country built and run by a private company: The Cotton Belt Corridor between Collin County and Fort Worth would be a 62 mile passenger rail service with DFW International Airport right in the middle of the line. Presenters from the Cotton Belt program will have the latest update and there may be some breaking news.

Bringing the train to the plane has been the life work of Andrew Sharp of London, UK based International Air-Rail Organisation and Mr. Sharp will demonstrate how both airlines and rail lines benefit from the exchange of passengers around the world, as they should do in Texas.

The Southwestern Rail Conference, now in its 9th year, is hosted by Texas Rail Advocates, a grass roots non-profit formed to educate the public and private sector on the benefits of passenger and freight rail development. The conference will be held in the Grand Hall at Dallas Union Station January 24-25, 2013. The conference is open to all interested parties. Registration is limited to the first 250 attendees and special priced rooms at the conference hotel, Dallas Hyatt at Reunion, is going fast www.texasrailadvocates.org/conference

Presentations will be made by executives of BNSF Railway, Union Pacific Railroad and Amtrak. A panel will discuss how Short Line railroads in Texas are making a difference in economic development with the businesses they serve. Another panel will discuss emerging regional passenger rail networks in the state.

Noted rail executive and writer Lawrence Kaufman will give his views on the present day and future of railroads and Anne Canby, Director of OneRail Coalition will explain that we must increase investment in the nation's railroad infrastructure to ensure our continued mobility, economic competitiveness and job creation, as well as to meet the energy challenges of the 21st century.

This is the only All-Rail all day conference in Texas that covers both freight and passenger rail issues.